Robert De Niro called out for lack of working with female directors — he’s not sure why

The Oscar winner has been making movies for five decades, but almost entirely with male directors

Published December 4, 2018 4:30PM (EST)

Robert De Niro (Getty/Jorge Guerrero)
Robert De Niro (Getty/Jorge Guerrero)

This article originally appeared on IndieWire.

Robert De Niro has been working as a leading actor since Brian De Palma’s “Greetings” in 1968, but over his five decades in Hollywood De Niro has worked with few women directors (examples include Agnès Varda on the 1995 French comedy movie “One Hundred and One Nights,” and Nancy Meyers on “The Intern.”) Why the lack of films directed by women? It’s a question French actress-turned-director Maiwenn asked De Niro during a recent masterclass at the Marrakech Film Festival (via Variety).

“I don’t know,” De Niro answered when pressed by Maiwenn on the discrepancy. Some of De Niro’s best known collaborators are Martin Scorsese, Michael Mann, David O. Russell, de Palma, and Sergio Leone.

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De Niro added only one more thought on the matter, saying, “I don’t have a problem working with a woman. If it’s a good script I’d do it.”

De Niro has a trio of films set for release in 2019, all of which are directed by men: Tim Hill’s “The War With Grandpa,” Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” and Todd Phillips’ “Joker,” a comic book film starring Joaquin Phoenix as the infamous Batman villain. Per usual, De Niro had nothing but praise for Socrsese when asked about their history making films together.

“Marty will let you go as far as you need to go and worry about it later, and he’ll use it,” De Niro said. “Some directors don’t think that way. If you offer this kind of a left turn or out-of-the-box type of thing, they’ll just say let’s move on. Marty just has that capacity to let you do what you want to do.”

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“The Irishman,” which reunites De Niro with Scorsese for another gangster drama, is backed by Netflix. When asked about the streaming giant’s controversial day-and-date release policy, De Niro answered, “I love the big screen and I think certain movies have to be shown on a big screen, especially our movie. In the beginning, we’re talking about big venues where it should play. What happens after that I don’t know. The contradiction is that the money we’re fortunate to get from Netflix has been very good, so hopefully they’ll be some kind of a compromise.”


Netflix has started giving select films a pre-streaming theatrical release (see “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” and “Roma” this fall), a strategy many expect will be used for “The Irishman.” Head over to Variety for more highlights from De Niro’s Marrakech Film Festival masterclass.

Read more IndieWire: Paul Schrader Says Netflix Will Only Release Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Irishman’ in Theaters for Two Weeks

By Zach Sharf

MORE FROM Zach Sharf

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